WAGNER, S.D. (AP) -- Law officers say 15 to 20 protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct Tuesday morning because they blocked traffic headed to the construction site of a large-scale hog farm west of Wagner.

A big truck carrying construction materials approached, and some protesters refused to get off the asphalt road leading to the site.

Seven law enforcement cars from the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Charles Mix County Sheriff's Office arrived and made the arrests.

Sheriff Ray Westendorf said the people were arrested because they were blocking traffic.

After the arrests, some Yankton Sioux tribal members protesting the hog farm asked law officers why they had to make arrests. One state trooper told them he didn't want to arrest anyone and only cited those who refused when they were asked to leave the road.

Earlier, a group of a couple dozen people had pulled vehicles onto the road about a half mile north of the site.

Tribal Vice Chairman John Stone said the tribe was seeking documentation from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to show that the road past the site is tribal road, not a county road.

"We need time to get the documents," he said.

Frank Sanchez, chairman of a tribal employment committee, said the tribe had to take action after a meeting Monday night during which Long View Farm officials said they would build the farm despite opposition.

"We want to protect our children and our environment. We want clean air and clean water," Sanchez said Tuesday.

Long View Farm officials tried to assure area residents Monday night that they're doing their best to make sure the operation won't smell, pollute the air and water or harm people.

The crowd of several hundred at the Wagner armory was skeptical and frequently interrupted speakers with catcalls and shouts of "liar."

Tribal members staged protests near the site last week. At one point, more than 40 South Dakota Highway Patrol cars were at the site, but the troopers left when the protest remained peaceful.

At the request of the tribe, the 11 Iowa farmers who own Long View Farm did not attend Monday night's meeting.

Officials representing the farm said they agreed to hold the meeting from 7 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. When 9:30 arrived, they said they had answered all the questions they could and they were leaving.

The gathering ended with a chorus of boos from the audience.

John Stone, vice president of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, said Monday his tribe would continue its effort to stop construction. "I'm 100 percent sure we're going to win this situation."

Opponents include not only American Indians, but all ethnic groups in the area, he said.

Long View Farm officials have said the operation could house an average of 3,350 sows and produce 70,000 pigs a year. The young pigs would be shipped to farms in Iowa when they are a couple of weeks old.

Construction is just getting under way, and the first hogs could be placed in the facility as early as September.

Jeff Kayser, who works for a company that is building and will manage operations at the farm, said the project includes many features designed to avoid pollution.

"These things are all concerns for the environment, for our employees, our animals and our neighbors," Kayser said.

Many in the crowd shouted with disgust as Kayser left the meeting, but he told reporters he wanted to thank everyone who attended. "We still look forward to becoming good neighbors with all Charles Mix County residents."

Members of the tribe and their supporters arrived at the meeting carrying flags and accompanied by the beat of traditional drums. Children in the group carried signs urging Long View Farm to abandon the project.

Those who asked questions during the meeting said they are worried the hog farm will smell, release poisonous gases and pollute the water.

As engineers and others involved in the construction spoke, people in the crowd held up signs saying, "Liar" and "Go back to Iowa."

Claudette Arcoren, a Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council member, told the crowd her tribe supports the Yankton Sioux effort to stop the hog farm. A large hog farm built on the Rosebud reservation has been a disaster, she said.

"What the people here are telling you may sound good, but it's lies," Arcoren said.

People involved in the Long View Farm project said it will cost $6 million to build and eventually will have 12 employees. The site was chosen out of 11 potential sites partly because it is isolated from other animals, which will help keep disease away from the pigs, they said.

The hog-confinement operation is on private land under state jurisdiction, but it is near tribal land and only 4 miles from Marty, the tribe's headquarters.

A lawyer for Long View Farm said construction was stopped over the weekend until after Monday night's meeting. Work crews have been building a driveway into the site.

A judge in the Yankton Sioux Tribal Court last week granted the tribe's petition for the exclusion and removal of the hog farm developers. A tribal lawyer said that ruling basically prohibits the developers from traveling across reservation land to get to the site.

State officials have said the hog farm has obtained all the permits it needs for construction.

Brad Greenway, who farms near Mitchell, said his family became part owners of a similar hog farm a few years ago. The hog barns are a mile and a half from his house.

"This is my land. My children are here. We're drinking the water. We're breathing the same air," said Greenway, who is not affiliated with hog farm being built near Wagner.

The hog manure that is used to fertilize crop land replaces petroleum-based chemical fertilizer, Greenway said. "This is as natural as it gets."


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